Imagine 40 years of launching “just marrieds” into their first moments together as husband and wife. If nothing else, that’s enough performances of the Chicken Dance, Macarena and “Daddy’s Little Girl” to fill several hundred wedding albums full of musical memories.
But it’s also a story of steadfast devotion and true adoration among Chicagoland’s Italian-American families. For since their first wedding gig at Mr. Duke’s Villa DiDomenico Banquets in Wood Dale, bandleader Frank Trimble (guitar, vocals) and his younger sister Gina Frasca (keyboards, vocals) have turned their musical talents into several generations of celebrations.
Today they’re the core of Fantasia, one of Chicago’s most celebrated wedding bands. And to think: The sibs started it all while they were still students at Addison Trial High School.
“Our dad had to drive us and our equipment because I didn’t even have my driver’s license,” recalls Trimble. “Never did we imagine that 40 years later we would still be together performing.”
They’re still evolving, too: Whether playing weddings, private parties or corporate events, Fantasia constantly surprises people with its deep, up-to-date repertoire. The six-piece outfit (complete with a horn section) plays current artists such as Bruno Mars, Lady Gaga and Meghan Trainor.
Fantasia’s playlist numbers about 200 songs and as for the Italian side of things, greats running the gamut from Frank Sinatra to Dion are represented. “About 30 of our songs are either by Italian-American artists or are traditional Italian classics,” says Trimble, whose father’s parents hailed from Calabria. “While none of us in the group speaks Italian, I took private lessons to learn the translation, pronunciation and phrasing of the songs I sing in the language.”
Such attention to detail reflects one special facet of Fantasia. The group has also boasted the same lineup for more than 20 years — no mean feat considering that most wedding bands change members as fast as brides toss their garters.
Meanwhile, Fantasia has endured many twists and trends over the decades. “Certainly the biggest change in the last 40 years is the acceptance of pre-recorded music at major events, either played by a deejay or by musicians who play along with karaoke tracks,” Trimble says. Then again, what’s better than a live band that can outdo studio gimmickry?
“At a recent event, the catering director was watching us from the back of the room,” he recalls. “Our first song after our break was so spot-on that she thought we were still playing our break CD — so she was confused by the fact we were on stage.”
Yet being on stage at prominent events, Fantasia prefers to shine the spotlight elsewhere.
“Some bands seem to have the attitude that THEY are the showcase,” Trimble says. “But in our opinion, bands like ours are hired to enhance a bigger event, whether it be a wedding celebration, fundraiser, parish celebration or corporate dinner dance. The bride and groom, the charity volunteers, the individuals being honored for their service to others: They’re the showcase, not the band. We’re there to help guests celebrate and honor these people.”